Martino Picardo, Chairman at Discovery Park, was among more than 90 speakers inspiring delegates at the PharmaIntegrates Conference in London on 12 and 13 November.
He shared a stage with Chas Bountra, Professor of Translational Medicine, Chief Scientist, Structural Genomics Consortium and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Innovation at the University of Oxford; Jacky Karmel, Principal International Scientific Director, Global Medical Team Lead, Roche; and Araz Raoof, Head of External Early Drug Development – Europe, Janssen.
The theme of the discussion – facilitated by Sean Breen, Vice President, Science Policy Europe, Takeda Pharmaceuticals – was the importance of partnerships to accelerate drug development, combining public and private resources to bring new medicines to market faster.
‘No single company is equipped to overcome all the hurdles involved in the increasingly complex process of developing medicines on their own,’ the preamble to the panel discussion stated. The comments from the participants backed this up.
Preventing duplication and wastage
Chas Bountra from the University of Oxford said pre-collaborative partnerships were ‘vital to preventing duplication and wastage’.
Jacky Karmel from Roche spoke of ‘breaking down barriers to data sharing’ with Martino Picardo speaking of the ‘bumper car effect’ of being based on a site like Discovery Park with multiple pharma, biotech and including other diverse operations, creating the opportunity for ‘serendipitous meetings and discussions.’ He described his role as being ‘a dating agent, talking to people, facilitating interaction, sharing knowledge and ideas.’
All panelists saw the need and opportunity for greater partnerships and not just between companies.
Opportunities for partnerships
Janssen’s Araz Raoof, said: “Big Pharma are open to working with charities…There is an awareness of the benefits of working with charities, they help awareness of unmet medical needs and share data with Big Pharma.”
Internal networks are important too. “At Roche, we have created networks of young investigators…we connect them and they work together. As they continue in their future they will already have a huge, global and diverse network,” added Jacky Karmel, Principal International Scientific Director for Roche.
And finally, Martino Picardo highlighted the importance of the industry reaching out to educators so that more young people are drawn into science. He described this as a ‘Schools to Science Park’ engagement, bringing the skills to the jobs that are available at Science Parks like Discovery Park”. Martino described this activity as a “call to arms” to all Pharma and Biotech organisations. Jacky Karmel said she would be taking this key message back to Genentech/Roche and for them to do more in this space.
“We should be thinking earlier…in schools, pupils don’t understand the opportunities in science. We need to do more in this space.”
Part of the South East’s life science community
Discovery Park has grown to be a thriving part of the South East’s life science community in its six years as a multi-business science campus. The site offers high quality laboratory, office and manufacturing facilities, the space and support to expand, access to local finance, and a growing tenant community. Pfizer, which first built this site’s reputation as a centre for drug discovery, retains a strong presence here, where some of the most famous drugs in the world were discovered.
Other tenants include Agalimmune, Algaecytes, Centauri Therapeutics, Genea Biomedx and Salvensis. With easy connections to London, Europe and the world Discovery Park is a great place to build and grow your biotech, medtech or pharma business. Martino stated that there was more to come at Discovery Park and to watch out for news and further exciting developments in the coming months. There was much more to be done with Pfizer in particular and the growing community at Discovery Park in creating further opportunities for pre-competitive collaborations built from Discovery Park and growing across the UK and beyond.